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Grieving Jimmy Carter teaches Sunday school only hours after grandson's death

Jimmy Carter announced at his regular Sunday school lesson that his grandson, Jeremy Carter, 28, had died only hours earlier.
/ Source: TODAY

Only hours after his grandson's death at 28 years old, a grieving Jimmy Carter apologized for being late to his Georgia church service for the first time ever before delivering his regular Sunday school lesson.

Carter, 91, told the congregation at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, that his grandson, Jeremy Carter, had died earlier in the day when he was unable to be revived by relatives after his heart stopped.

The former president said Jeremy took a nap at his family's home in Peachtree City on Saturday night because he didn't feel well, and he was discovered unresponsive by his mother. He died in the hospital early on Sunday and the cause of death is unknown, according to Carter. Jeremy was the son of Annette and Jeff Carter, the latter of whom is the youngest of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter's three sons.

"(President Carter) was shaken," Maranatha Baptist Church Rev. Jeremy Shoulta told CNN. "He was obviously sad although he was able to teach and he was able to present the lesson as well as he always has. But it was apparent to everyone there that this was weighing on him very heavily."

Jeremy's death came just two weeks after Carter announced that his brain cancer is gone after having been diagnosed in August.

On Sunday, Carter told the congregation that despite sorrow they should "be filled with a sense of joy and thanksgiving,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I should be joyful and thankful to God for giving me both life and freedom,” Carter said.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.